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As long as you attribute the data sets to the source, publish your adapted database with ODbL license, and keep the dataset open don't use technical measures such as DRM to restrict access to the database. The datasets are also available as weekly exports. NL EN.

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More from Albert Derolez. Book Tower Open print view. Description: XXI, p. Series: Cambridge studies in palaeography and codicology 9 Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and indexes.

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Subject: Manuscripts, Medieval Europe. This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.


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View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis About this title Albert Derolez has developed new terminology for describing the different scripts in this detailed study of handwriting in manuscript books produced in western and central Europe from c. Book Description : This book provides a detailed discussion of the handwriting in manuscript books produced in western and central Europe from c. Buy New Learn more about this copy. Other Popular Editions of the Same Title.

Search for all books with this author and title. Customers who bought this item also bought. Stock Image. Published by Cambridge University Press , Cambridge Seller Rating:. New Paperback Quantity Available: 1. New Quantity Available: 2. New Quantity Available: 1. Seller Image. New Paperback or Softback Quantity Available: Published by Cambridge University Press New Paperback Quantity Available: Chiron Media Wallingford, United Kingdom. The leading strategy has been the one of expressing the variations by means of hand-drawn letterforms.

The tension between the individual handwritten sample and its abstract model is thus resolved by relying on partial visual representations created ad hoc to match the corpus of analysis. Paradoxically, however, this fundamental process of abstraction causes, once again, a descent back into the subjective representation of what a single palaeographer considers to be the typical alphabet of a given script.

Taking a humanities-computing approach [ 8 ] to the traditional study of medieval manuscripts, its purpose is to show how digital representation may help to describe a certain graphic style of handwriting, and how it may help in the comparison of different scripts that are geographically and chronologically related. If the palaeographical comparison between dated and undated codices makes assumptions and hypotheses of correlation based on an individual's expert eye, the possibility to be explored here experimentally is whether the eyesight can be made sharper by the use of a computational instrument.

The point is not to replace the inadequacy of graphical comparison by the power of numerical precision or to misrepresent the richness of the assessment of clues by absolute statistical data. Rather it is to explore a different, complementary, methodology. What in fact the results have shown is that the digital models produced by the SPI provide a considerable support to the analytical description of letterforms and to the systematic comparison among scripts which differ in small details.

As a consequence, the nature of the traditional palaeographical method is enriched rather than diminished or undervalued. Gilissen ; CNRS , to the production and format of books—the so-called codicological examination. The present project aims to explore the possibility of supporting the human expert by quantifying the graphical signs and providing tools that, rather than diminish its interpretative insights, support or guide them.

The foundational idea is that the examination of specific explicit criteria can help to bring sensible and meaningful order to our understanding of script. Alessandro Sperduti and Prof. Antonina Starita. Unfortunately, its implementation was never completed. Moreover, while the software has been tested in feasibility terms by the computer scientists, it has not reached a state to be actually used by the History Department of Pisa University, the humanities partner of the original project.

The two academic partners ultimately abandoned the realisation of the original idea and the project came to an end. While the concluding paragraphs of the current paper summarise the strengths of the application and methodology in use, they also point to the need to redesign the entire program to make it possible for other scholars to benefit from its use and to envisage further developments.

It can be conceived of as a set of agents that work on different tasks: an agent that is engaged on the segmentation phase, one that manages the generation of models, and one that processes the classification of styles of handwriting. The system is build around a relational database, called the palaeographical database , that contains all the information the application produces and processes:. Figure 1: Schematic of the SPI system. Around forty codices —without taking into account the fragments—dating from the 10th to the 12th century, held at the Biblioteca Comunale degli Intronati of Siena [ 13 ] constitute the wider corpus from which the sample manuscripts have been chosen.

Previous work in art history Klange Addabbo and palaeography in particular Garrison , and Berg have not been able to identify a single scriptorium as the common source for this varied group of codices. Because of the diversity of the writing style and the general lack of information on copying activity in the convents, several have been classified as generally belonging to the area of central Italy. Most come from the lost libraries of Benedictine convents and monasteries from the territory around the Tuscan city of Siena, which were confiscated between the eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries.

All were held at the monastery of S. Eugenio just outside Siena in the fifteenth century, as the notes of possession in them attest. The main text is usually written by more than one scribe, in either one or two columns, and it is often framed by contemporary or later marginal and interlinear glosses. Out of this approximate classification, there is a group of codices that have been generally dated to the twelfth century, again according to earlier studies.

Some premises need to be stated to justify such an approach, which treats the single letter form as the basis for morphological analysis. Indeed, the medieval scribe had in mind a script to pursue, a calligraphic ideal see Brown and Lovett He foresaw what the text should look like. He did this by avoiding variants, so as to achieve a coherent, homogeneous version of the handwriting he intended to perform. This is true for the case of book scripts, and especially for Carolingian script, which had to obey to the rules of coherency and formality, legibility and beauty, henceforth privileging constructed letterforms, made in several strokes.

Nevertheless, despite the experienced scribe's taught skills, handwriting, like any human activity, varies and is never the same. No letter can be re-written by hand in exactly the same way.


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This intrinsic variability complicates all automatic image processing of any human handwriting. It is a concrete example of what is called the problem of inconsistency in automatic pattern recognition for an introduction to document image analysis see Bunke and Wang From a palaeographical point of view, the issue is to distinguish between the differences due to natural human inconsistency and those due to changes of style. The SPI segmentation module, which works quite successfully with non-cursive medieval hands, goes through these steps:. Figure 2: Segmentation window of the SPI.

Figure 3: Examples of one, two, and three modal characters with corresponding histograms. The centroyd is an average letter, a sort of pure character—in brief, a model. In mathematical terms, a centroyd plus a set of tangents of certain cardinality compose the prototype. Through its tangents, the model represents an average of the characters belonging to the training set. Figure 4: Centroyd left and tangents right for an example letter a.

This procedure of graphical transformation is called tangents analysis. The common characteristics, that is to say the tangents of the class, remain invariant, while the model is allowed to show its possible changes within its tangents' subspace. To sum up: it is possible to stretch the centroyd towards one or the other direction —the directions are defined by the specific tangents—so as to highlight the morphological possibilities that the model encompasses. The resulting visual effect is a morphing of the centroyd.

Figure 5: Tangents analysis window of SPI. However, the complete diagram and dendogram tools facilitate some interesting inspections based on comparison of the stored models. It is possible by this to visualise the models according to the their degree of similarity to a selected model. Figure 6: Diagram of relationships among samples of an example letter b. A measure of distance, which represents the degree of similarity, is then associated with every model compared to the other ones and it appears at the top of each model frame.

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The same calculation of distance is used by the next tool, the dendogram. Every cluster represents a subset of models sharing a certain morphological similarity. The result of such a computation is visualised as a binary tree that is actually the dendogram itself. Figure 7: Dendogram of an example letter f.

Classification of manuscripts here means the retrieval of models from the database that are more similar to the hand that needs to be classified or defined from a morphological point of view. At this point, the system. At the end of the calculation, that is after the set of characters chosen as samples have been processed, the classification selects the graphical unit which has the most winning comparisons:.

For manuscripts showing a homogeneous style, this meant four pages per manuscript; in more heterogeneous manuscripts, four pages were scanned per style. Image files used in the SPI were converted into bitmaps with two levels of bit depth, as required by the program. The digital leaves were cropped and introduced into the database in sections corresponding wherever possible to manuscript columns so as to facilitate image management and further analysis. It would have been ideal to perform the segmentation and subsequent phases for all characters in the alphabet, ligatures, and, eventually, punctuation.

The available version of the software does not allow this at the moment, however. In this hand, it slopes to the left. It may have also an upcurving endstroke at the bottom that often links with the following letter. The top, when not linking with the previous letter —e. The bow is quite triangular and flattened. Its shape is thin at the top and bottom and, by light contrast, thick in the middle of the stroke.

For interpreting the measures, the comparison of different structures of the diagram—structures which can be obtained by changing the model at the start of the linear measurement—has been useful. However, some apparent inconsistency of the disposition of the models within the graphs is caused by hands that are not quite formalised, where the broadness of the quill itself may vary, as it is especially the case for FIII3 and FV8.

The serif of the ascender may feature a club rather than a wedge shape, or a line serif rather than a beak.

The Palaeography of Gothic Manuscript Books - Albert Derolez - Häftad () | Bokus

These variations often occur within the same manuscript and may confirm that the script was not yet canonised. Following the same direction, the lobe seems to grow in module, at the expense of the shorter shaft, and to acquire contrast.

According to the measures shown by the diagram, however, FIII3 is this time closer to the second group containing FIII13 and FV21, due to the thickness of its execution and to the wideness of the lobe; while FV2 1st part is in its own branch on the left, because of the accentuated inclination of its shaft:.